Ron DeSantis rhetoric and that of those around him would make you believe he’s a movement conservative. But as time goes on, it’s clear his ideology is about as different from pure conservatives (like his predecessor Rick Scott) as are the policy-preferences he espouses. State-based solutions to many matters, make DeSantis and his acolytes attacks on “socialism” ring hollow, if anyone were actually into ideological consistency these days.
Keep in mind, by nature authoritarians like DeSantis cannot be pure conservatives, because despite preaching “freedom,” the pure nature of his leadership style means he must consolidate power in his own hands, meaning using government against any and all foes is a natural thing.
The media tends to define the left/right paradigm on social issues and on those topics including his shameful advocacy of putting guns in the hands of Floridians and limiting women’s reproductive freedom, DeSantis remains a hard-right figure. But on other issues, he’s at least rhetorically something very different than a traditional GOPer.
Also before we continue this discussion, I need to mention the inspiuration to right this article has come from multiple progressives I speak to who are in the camp of “neoliberals are worse than Republicans,” and “Hillarry Clinton is worse than any GOPer.” I previously felt these progressives, who lack any sort of historical analysis or larger context in their hostility to the Democratic Party (I don’t deny some of it is justified, but in the wake of COVID and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, some progressive anger has reached a new level)
It’s pretty clear being anti-corporate is part of the DeSantis brand. Many of his theatrical barbs are about turning the citizenry against “woke” corporations and private business who might have the temerity to defy dear leader.
DeSantis is anti-sugar, has used state money to help the long-needed Tamiami Trail project and committed resources to Manatee protection. He also pushed the Biden Administration with his barbs into funding a Palm Beach County reservoir project.
DeSantis vetoed the FPL-written net-metering legislation which was the key piece of the utility companies campaign against solar.
Home Buying program
Statism at its finest, DeSantis has pushed a home-buying program which while laudable is NOT conservative.
I have been appalled by the number of anti-vaccine and anti-mask people I have found on the left. Some even mirror DeSantis commentary on the subject. But the bottom line is, preventing business and local governments from making policies they see fit isn’t conservative at all.
At least rhetorically, DeSantis is sounding like a progressive-populist on this subject. Even if he’s really not committed to doing much of anything…
The bottom line is that DeSantis is a skilled con artist who is cruising toward reelection right now. He screams FREEDOM and I AM A CONSERVATIVE, when in fact his entire ideology is about curtailing freedom and centralizing power in his own hands. But this is all working as the electorate is proving, at least per polling to be incredibly gullible.